China angry at US arms sales to Taiwan

Edinburgh, Feb 1

The US today defended its 4 billion pounds arms sales to Taiwan following protest from China. Washington said it was committed to helping the island nation defend itself, a US official said.

The arms sales has strained further the US-China relationship. An official Chinese daily said US weapons sales to Taiwan, which China claims as its own inevitably cast a long shadow on Sino-US relations, Reuters said.

China’s response, no matter how vehement, is justified, it said. No country worthy of respect can sit idle while its national security is endangered and core interests damaged, it said.

US Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asia-Pacific region said Washington aimed to maintain cooperative, cordial relations with China but would not abandon Taiwan.

“The US is also obligated to ensure Taiwan’s self-defence capability and the US fully intends to meet every one of our obligations there and we will continue to do so into the future,” he said in Tokyo.

Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province that must accept eventual unification, by force if necessary.

China’s president Hu Jintao has not commented yet on the issue  suggesting that he wants to keep some leeway in dealing with Washington.